Google co-founder leading study to find new Parkinson’s genes

Google co-founder Sergey Brin is leading a new web-based study which he hopes will uncover vital changes in people's genes that affect their risk of getting Parkinson's.

In 2008, Brin discovered that he has a gene mutation known as LRRK2 which was discovered by Parkinson's UK-funded research in 2004. The tiny difference in his genetic code means that he is at increased risk of developing Parkinson's in later life.

Now he's joined forces with his wife Anne Wojcicki – who runs 'personalised genomics' company 23andMe - to gather DNA samples from 10,000 people with Parkinson's.

Participants fill in an internet survey about their symptoms and lifestyle and provide a sample of saliva containing their DNA.

This approach flips traditional research methods on their head. Usually researchers set out to answer a very specific set of questions - whereas Brin has little idea of exactly what he's looking for.

But by collecting huge amounts of information and using computers to search for patterns, he hopes to find new genes or lifestyle factors that influence the development of Parkinson's.

Is this a genuinely innovative approach to Parkinson's research? Or more gimmick than potential breakthrough? Tell us what you make of it all by leaving a comment below or emailing

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A marriage made in heaven-DNA analysis and the capacity to analyse data on a grand scale with the added advantage of personal interest for the instigator of the research

I welcome the move as analyzing data on that scale may throw up some unexpected “coincidences” to be further investigated.

Any data gained, positive or negative, can only add to what we know and the more we know and understand the nearer we are to a cure

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